At the age of 87, Italian architect and designer Alessandro Mendini passed away Monday, February 18, 2019. A true renaissance man, Mendini worked in architecture, graphic design, interiors, product designer, furniture, and visual art. He was an important player in the radical design movement of the 1960s, and the postmodern movement that followed. His wit and playfulness merged color and function, creating pieces both visually striking and commercially successful.
Adam Nathaniel Furman, designer and postmodern expert, described Mendini as “a figure of staggering importance, and a beautiful mind who helped open up horizons.”
Mendini was born in Milan in 1931 and graduated in 1959 from the Politecnico di Milano with a degree in architecture. As his voice grew in the design and art world, Mendini became a leading design critic for 15 years as the managing editor of Casabella magazine (1970-1976), founder and managing editor of Mode (1977-1981), and finally the managing editor of Domus (1982-1985). His viewpoint focused on renewing the world through design.
Always whimsical, his product and furniture design may be how he is known best. His baroque meets modern Proust armchair is renowned by the design world, and his anthropomorphic Anna G corkscrew epitomizes his recognizable, joyful flair. His pieces meld art and design, boasting bold colors and personality.
During his lifetime, Mendini was honored with two Compasso d’Oro awards and received a European Prize for Architecture Award. He continued to work until his death, running his own studio with his brother in Milan, the Atelier Mendini. His humor, viewpoint, and influence will not be forgotten.
When asked in an interview with designboom from 2000 about his style, Mendini stated, “I am on a quest to communicate through my objects and work in general, trying to say things that encourage people to deepen meditation and spirituality.”